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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Program for the Preparation of School Principals and Supervisors

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DESIGNED FOR WORKING PROFESSIONALS

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Program for the Preparation of School Principals and Supervisors awards either of two degrees: an M.A. and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. 

The M.A. is intended for experienced educators who have not yet earned a master’s degree, while the Ed.S. is intended for experienced educators who have already earned a master’s in an education-related discipline. M.A. and Ed.S. students complete all of the same coursework.

However, Ed.S. students graduate with more credits than their M.A. counterparts, because some of their previous graduate credits transfer over to the Ed.S. In this respect, the Ed.S. may be thought of as an extension of one’s earlier Master’s. Both the M.A. and Ed.S. degree tracks prepare students to meet the requirements of the School Leadership Licensure Assessment. After graduating, students must pass the SLLA to receive licensure as a Virginia school leader.
 

LOCATIONS AND COHORTS

Virginia Tech offers the Principal Preparation Program at its Northern Virginia Center (Falls Church and/or Prince William County). In addition, to the program is offered online and at four Virginia Tech extension sites: Hampton Roads Center (Virginia Beach), The Richmond Center, Abingdon, and the Roanoke Center.

The program operates on a cohort model. In other words, each site admits a new cohort of approximately 15 Principal Preparation students every four semesters. Members of a given cohort, M.A. and Ed.S. students alike attend all of the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study. 

WHY CHOOSE THIS PROGRAM?

History & Purpose

Since 1989, the Virginia Tech Program for the Preparation of School Principals and Supervisors has taught students to face the challenges of contemporary K-12 school leadership. Designed to fit the needs of working educational professionals, the program is conducted on a part- or full-time basis, with coursework that balances modern academic theory with real-life practice. Principal Preparation graduates leave with the skills they need to lead ethically, work confidently with diverse populations, and initiate programs to improve the learning and prospects of K-12 students. Many alumni have gone on to serve as assistant principals, principals, or central office administrators, or to pursue doctoral study. 

Internship Component

The 30 hours of coursework include 6- credits of internship, focused on building-level school leadership and on division-level, agency, or special school leadership. Students conduct the internship on-site at a local educational institution, under the mentorship of a practicing principal or supervisor. To pass, students must demonstrate competency in a range of standards-based skills.

The internship consists of 36 specific objectives which are congruous with the work of school principals. It is intended to immerse interning principals in the actual work of principals so that they will be ready to successfully assume the role of an assistant principal, principal, or some other form of educational leader upon completion of the internship. Interns work directly with a mentor who could be a home-school principal, or other affiliated principals and/or division-level administrators as well as their supervisor from Virginia Tech to complete specified objectives required by the Principal Preparation program.

a woman studies in a library

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and School Leadership Licensure program is designed to meet the standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) as well as those of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and is nationally recognized and accredited.

Principal Preparation students complete 30 hours of coursework on a part-time basis, over a period of approximately four semesters. Generally, students attend two classes – totaling 6 credit hours – per semester. Most courses are conducted in the evening to fit the schedules of full-time educators, and the majority of courses are taught inperson or via blended learning, with the exception of the virtual (online) classes are all on-line, either synchronous or asynchronous. The courses are:

  1. Curriculum Leadership
  2. Instructional Leadership
  3. Leadership and Change
  4. School Law
  5. School Budgeting
  6. Special Education Administration
  7. Research, Assessment, and Evaluation
  8. Personnel Administration
  9. Internship (six credit hours)

The curriculum meets the standards of both the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership (national standards) and the Virginia Department of Educational Principal Performance standards.

To enroll in the School Leadership Licensure Program, an applicant must have:

  • For M.A.Ed, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • For Ed.S., a master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Earned at least a 3.2 GPA during your most recent two years of university coursework
  • Some K-12 teaching experience, with at least three years of experience preferred


Applicants are evaluated based on their written and oral communication skills; technological competence; leadership potential; letters of recommendation; and commitment both to completing the program and becoming school leaders.

Learn more 

There is a discount for in-state K-12 teachers; use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs.

As with on-campus students, we refer you to the VT Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information on financial assistance. Generally, distance learners may qualify for federal loans if they take 5 or more credit hours per semester.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

As full-time Virginia K-12 school employees, our students qualify for a 25% reduced tuition rate.  Use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs.

Tuition & Fee Rates

Starting Term   Campus Applications
Summer 2021 Fully online Rolling admissions so can apply anytime
Fall 2021 Richmond / Fairfax / Hampton Roads Begin reviewing now and will accept until full
Spring/Summer 2022 Fully online Rolling admissions so can apply anytime
Fall 2022 Northern VA / Roanoke August 1, 2022; will accept until full
Spring/Summer 2023 Fully online Rolling admissions so can apply anytime

Note: Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Access at (540) 231-8771 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061. 

David Alexander, EdD mdavid@vt.edu

Jodie Brinkmann, EdD jlbrinkmann@vt.edu

Carol S. Cash, EdD ccash48@vt.edu

John Gratto, EdD john1112@vt.edu

Carol A. Mullen, PhD camullen@vt.edu

Ted Price, PhD pted7@vt.edu

Susan Li
Graduate Academic Program Assistant
susanli@vt.edu

Kathy Tickle
Enrollment Services Specialist
Starting Term Campus Applications
ktickle@vt.edu

Students conduct each internship on-site at a local educational institution, under the mentorship of a practicing principal or supervisor. To pass these internships, students must demonstrate competency in a range of standards-based skills.

Students select their mentors and their primary and secondary internship sites during the first semester of the program. They complete their internships year-round in short blocks during planning periods, after school, before school, or during the summer, whenever they have a break from regularly-assigned work duties. Most students complete their primary internship at the school at which they are currently employed.

QUESTIONS?

Carol Cash
VT Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road,
Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 662-7288
ccash48@vt.edu

Ted Price
Visiting Assistant Professor
VT Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road,
Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 662-7288
pted7@vt.edu

John Gratto
Clinical Assistant Professor
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
540-759-0197
john1112@vt.edu

M. David Alexander
Professor
Roanoke Doctoral Program
(540) 231-9723
mdavid@vt.edu

Carol A. Mullen
Professor
Abingdon Doctoral Program
(540) 231-3846
camullen@vt.edu

Susan Li
Graduate Academic Program Assistant
Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22043
703-538-8481
susanli@vt.edu

Kathy Tickle
Enrollment Services Specialist
Starting Term Campus Applications
402 Wallace Hall (0565)
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-231-9721
ktickle@vt.edu

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY